Re: NANFA-- Collecting w/Ray

Roselawn Museum (
Tue, 13 Mar 2001 14:09:55 -0500

Nice report, Ty. Of course, now you need to set aside some money. After
spending that much time with Ray, all of your pets, neighbors, and family
members will soon be producing offspring at a rapid pace. (-:

Steven A. Ellis
Kennesaw, GA

At 12:55 PM 3/13/01 -0600, you wrote:
>Well, it finally came to pass. After listening to Ray Wolff wax poetically
>about the pristeen marsh and the pulling in of net after net of Northern
>Red-Bellied Dace and Fantail Darters. Of prehistoric fish called Gars and
>Bowfin and Burbot, I finally made a trip up his way and twisted his arm
>into taking me collecting. After spending one mildly cold day under mildly
>bad conditions, I came to the quick conclusion that Ray should get a
>Pulitzer Prize! We didn't get one Northern Red-Belly and we actually got
>skunked on the first two spots we even hit. I started to have my doubts
>that Ray had actually ever even netted a fish. I was cold and my knee was
>killing me, where I slipped and fell on the ice, I was begining to think
>that driving three hours for this might not have been the best way to spend
>my day off. Then it happened. We stopped at a roadside ditch. My suspicions
>about Ray where now entering the delusional phase. Here was a drop of water
>that only looked to be 15 x 20 feet. It appeared to be no more then a
>ditch. I played along and figured I'd get out and have a look see. After
>all, it's safer to be out walking around with an insane person, then it is
>to be riding in his truck. So I looked around, and to my surprise I found a
>floating dead Northern Pike. This Pike went about 23 inches long! Awefully
>big for a ditch! Then we spot a dead Bowfin, this one about 16 inches long.
>Begining to think that Ray may not be as crazy as my earlier experiences
>had led me to believe I dipped my net in and pulled out a net FULL of fish!
>WOW! There was all kinds of things in there! Baby Sunfish and Perch to beat
>the band. Baby Bullheads, Tadpole Madtoms, Tadpoles, Golden Shiners and
>several other natives that I don't even remember. (Hopefully Ray does and
>will fill in where my memory leaves off. I really need to take notes.) We
>dipped several more times and each time it was the same, a net full of
>fish. We crossed the road and found the same in another ditch. Just
>incredible. Ray tried to educate me and describe how this ditch is actually
>connected to the larger Marsh area and the fish come up in here to feed and
>take andvantage of the open water, but to be honest I didn't get much of
>it. I was too excited to be catching fish! I kept a few Bullheads and
>Madtoms, nothing too exotic, and we headed off to another spot. This time
>we stopped on what can best be described as a backwash area that empties
>into the Wisconsin River. There is a large pond like area that empties
>through two concrete sewer pipes into the River. On the down water side of
>the pipes there is a stack of large rocks. After kick around in the rocks
>we netted Fantail and Rainbow Darters as well as some Sticklebacks. Very
>Cool. I have two of each of the Darters at home in my tanks, right now.
>What a great day. Ray is truely a good guy to spend some time with and even
>though winter may not the best time to be in Wisconsin netting fish. I had
>a blast! We also saw Deer, Turkey's, Sandhill Cranes, Bald Eagles, Osprey's
>and all kinds of other critters. Thanks to Ray for putting up with me and
>giving up a good part of his Saturday. I had a great time and look forward
>to his heading down to my area where I will try and return the favor.

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